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Sharing his knowledge

Retired teacher likes to share his lifetime of research


1,000 stars with the human eye. The stars we see are the brightest but the fewest,” he said, “and with a telescope you can see 10 times as many.” He can see the rings of Saturn and even Uranus and Neptune. But he believes that Mars is the most interesting planet to look at. Alan explained that in the late 1800s, an Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, named the seas on Mars, and he observed many curved lines on the red planet which he called “canali” meaning “channels.” However, the canalis were misinterpreted to be “canals” in English. “Channels are curved and are formed naturally; canals are straight,” Alan emphasized, “so that’s why people thought there was life on Mars, as the canals must have been built by Martians.” Alan confessed that he’s not that interested in observing the moon. “It’s so close and already explored,” he said. “Eventually, the moon will flip out of its orbit as the moon is going further out as it orbits, but it won’t happen during our lifetime. It will be a long time.” He’s conducted astronomy classes through community education classes in Pequot Lakes and Pine River, which many people have attended. His classes have also visited with two other astronomers in Nisswa and Pine River. Alan and his wife, Doris, have been married for over 36 years. Returning home through the Brainerd area from their honeymoon in Ontario in 1977, they decided to look at some retirement property and bought lake property near Backus. Alan was familiar with the area as his father was a band leader at Breezy Point in 1952-53. He and Doris have two children and nine grandchildren. The couple moved from Chicago to their lake home in 1997. He is member of the Backus Lions Club, enjoys volunteering and has been a mentor with Kinship Partners for two years. He continues to pay it forward. He always has a joke or trivia to share. “No one wants to play Trivial Pursuit with me,” he grinned, “as I always win!”


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